We live in a convenient society, with transportation systems to take us to all our destinations. We live in an accelerated society, where speed trumps just about everything. We’ve gotten used to driving around at the store for twenty minutes in order to find a closer parking spot. High-rise buildings have express elevators to avoid the time-consuming possibility of too many people wanting in on too many floors. Efficiency equates with speed. If it’s done quickly, it’s done well.
The problem with our efficient society is we’ve designed out the component of people getting themselves where they need to go. We’ve factored out a good deal of the built-in physical activity of many functions. As you continue to incorporate good habits into your day, look for ways to reintroduce physical activity.
Below are suggestions. These are not meant as a checklist, but rather as a way to stimulate your own imagination as you think over your day and how you can incorporate more movement:
- If you drive to work, park farther away from your building and walk. Be sure to factor in some extra time to do this so you won’t add to your stress by being late!
- If you take a bus or subway, try getting out at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way to your destination.
- Once you’re at work, consider using the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’re on the thirty-seventh floor, start out by walking the first to floors and taking the elevator the rest of the way. As your physical condition improves, work toward increasing the number stairs you walk versus the number of floors you ride the elevator.
- Instead of always asking other workers or subordinates to obtain needed items, stand up and use the opportunity to stretch a little on your way, and get that item for yourself.
- Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of escalators at stores or buildings.
- If you’re going to be doing a variety of errands in a central location, park your car in the middle and walk from store to store instead of driving to each one.
- If you need to speak with a coworker, walk down the hall to his or her office instead of picking up the phone.
- If you have a cell phone, plan to place some of your calls as you are taking a walk around the block. Take care of business and your health at the same time!
By achieving a higher activity level during the day, you help your metabolism maintain a corresponding higher rate. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn. You feel more alert, your mood is more optimistic; you’re less tired and cold.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 30 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.